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Wednesday, June 1, 2005
(1:17 pm)

My cannons are silenced. My allies are gone. My troops are dead or wounded. Spies have stolen my maps and strategies. My resolve is crushed like an empty aluminum can ready for the recycle. Still, I make motions like there's still some fight in me. Why, I couldn't tell you.


Quote of the Day: "It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." -- Leo Tolstoy


I took some photographs of my artist-friend Arthur's floral still life class setups. One of them I've already posted here. I shot the other two yesterday and was going to print out copies of the manipulated products to give to Arthur, but only one of the two came out. I kept getting really bad motion blur on the one and the whites just overwhelm everything if I use the flash. What I need is a digital camera with which I can use a remote switch. The Fujifilm digital I have doesn't allow for that, so even on a tripod you're going to get some motion when you press the shutter button. It's all about money again, isn't it?

Digital Camera Image (Modified) [2005_0531Image0009]
"Still Life with Spider Mums"

I still haven't heard from my lawyers. I still haven't won the lottery. I still don't have a patron or an agent, or even a one-time buyer of anything more than a $36.00 piece. I should have a yard sale. Put 25 and 50-cent price tags on all my art. If I sell several thousand that way, I'll have something.

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Thursday, June 2, 2005
(2:54 pm)

With so little room and space to work around here, every time I start to do something, I have to move so many things around, and try to invent places to store things that by the time I'm half done with that, I'm so tired and discouraged that I rarely actually get around to doing what I originally intended. Right now I'm part of the way into a project that will require shaping of material using my rotary tool flex shaft. It will then require some soldering and molding and painting. I have one work table and it is piled high with things I really have no place to stash. I suppose I should get rid of some things, but what? If I toss a bunch of things, I know I'll regret it. What I probably need to do is organize the attic and create a storage place up there for paper and boards and such things that I won't use for a while. It probably gets too hot up there for paint and the like, though. Now, I just need to shanghai someone to help me arrange the attic. I'd love to get some of the shelves set up and put books where I can access them without digging through boxes for days.


Quote of the Day: "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -- Charles Eliot


It's raining, therefore Michael is in pain. I think I'll have my snack at 3:00, take a pill and go lie down and read. I'm currently reading Caleb Carr's Angel of Darkness. It's very good. It's a sequel to his The Alienist. The protagonist of both books is Lazlo Kreizler. One of the featured characters in the first book was Theodore Roosevelt when he was the Police Commissioner of New York City. In the second book Clarence Darrow makes an appearance. Carr's books, being set around the 1800-1900 juxtaposition, are seemingly historically accurate and very engaging. The book I'm currently reading is told from the perspective of Kreizler's ward, young former thug and street urchin, Stevie. If I recall, which may or may not be the case, the first book was written from the perspective of Kreizler's manservant, Cyrus, a very large black man. It may have been told by a female associate or John Moore, a reporter for the Times. It's been many years since I read that one.

The clock struck three. . .

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Friday, June 3, 2005
(1:25 pm)

Did I mention? I'm building a duck. And a penguin. I made the duck feet out of Premo polymer clay. Burnt them to a crisp. That was my first experience with polymer clay. I suppose you have to buy a book. People do such marvelous things with the stuff. Me, I incinerate it. It's set nicely, but ducks don't have brown feet, do they? I guess I'll have to paint them orange. The penguin was slightly problematic. I had to shave off one of the "fins" on the gourd and fill in between two of the others with papier maché. I've never done papier maché before and opted for bond paper instead of newsprint. I ran it through our crosscut shredder and soaked it for days. It still didn't pulp up like I thought it should. I tried boiling it (turned the aluminum pot black) and hacking away at it with a hand-held blender. Finally I got it to a semblance of a usable substance. It's still drying now four days later. Eventually. . .

With the leftover papier maché I made a disc. It looks very much like an albino hamburger. I think I thought I was going to make a sun or a moon or something out of it. I have pounds of paper pulp in bags in the fridge. Any ideas for archival papier maché projects?

I got a quilting iron at JoAnn's and a multi-purpose burning/heating tool at Wal-Mart. I'm edging toward doing things with wax (I also have a potpourri pot to melt beeswax in). I fear that once I start I'll love it and keep doing it (I once got into batik and I think I got addicted to the smell of melted wax -- I'm still big on candles). For that to happen I need a place where spattering and spilling wax won't matter much or at all, and I don't have such a place, so there's another thing I'm putting off.


Quote of the Day: "The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back." -- Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)


My blood sugar average is creeping up slowly. I guess I need to pay a little closer attention to what I'm eating. Still, I'm not sure that's what's going on either. My blood sugar (BS) was 104 when I woke up this morning. At noon, after having only had coffee, it was 110. What's up with that?

I'm gonna go work on my birds. . .

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Monday, June 6, 2005
(11:17 am)

D-Day

Before we know it we'll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of D-Day and probably in another 39 years, the significance of the day and its events in 1944 will have been forgotten or supplanted by some other generalized notion of the nobility and glory of armed conflict. D-Day was in essence a movable abatoir, a slaughterhouse on the beach, a good day to die. The invasion begun on that day was the beginning of the liberation of Europe from the suffocating grasp of fascism and Nazism. Unfortunately, the price paid on the beaches of Normandy was too high. The invasion could have been better planned and executed and the death toll greatly reduced. The generals wanted a spectacular landing. Well, they got it.


Quote of the Day: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." -- Oscar Wilde


Mondays on The Charleston Gazette opinion page they run a short column called "Potpourri". Usually it's a little longer than today's two items. It's a collection of short snips and snippets the editors want to mention but don't want to go into detail about or to write a lengthy diatribe. Sort of like this blogesque thing I do here. Monday seems like a good day to go into the things that have been on my mind that don't warrant a whole entry unto themselves. I'll have to keep that in mind.


The duck I was working on turned out to be a goose, of sorts. My friend, Arthur, was over for a while yesterday and on seeing it, said, "It's definitely a goose." He's right. It's a goose. I've almost finished the penguin, too. I painted him like an emperor penguin. I just need to touch up the white areas and I think I'm done. I'm not putting feet on him, as he stands well on his own.


During his visit yesterday, Arthur said that he thought I should have a show of my asemic writing/drawings (example below) at the Clay Center. I agree. I think I should have a show of them at the Guggenheim or MOMA. Question is, how do I get them in front of someone who could make that happen?

India ink on clay coated paper
"November 25, 2004, Number 8"

The shower controls are now officially on summer settings. In the winter, you have to crank the hot all the way open and turn the cold just about half a turn. Now it's pretty much the opposite. I think it's partly due to the cold water coming through the cold ground during the cooler months, and partly due to the perceptions and preferences of the skin. For example, in winter, I like long hot showers (I know, I know it dries the skin), and in summer I prefer short, cooler showers. It's supposed to be 85 here today. It hit 90 just 50 miles west of here yesterday. I really wish we had more in the way of air conditioning.


(12:38 pm)

For about a week, maybe a little longer, my right leg/ankle was doing really well. Sure, it hurt: ached when it rained or was damp, but I had no trouble walking without a cane. It didn't bother me too bad even last Monday when Hyim and I went on a foray to Michael's and Books-A-Million. Today, something has shifted. I can barely walk, even with a cane.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2005
(10:03 am)

It's already 75 degrees. Yesterday it reached the low 90's, the hottest day here in over two years. I guess the last two summers with their lower-than-average temperatures were but a brief respite. The forecast for yesterday called for 82 degrees. It was at least 10 degrees over that. The forecast for today says 88. I certainly hope it doesn't use yesterday as a template.


Quote of the Day: "Talent develops in quiet; character in the maelstrom of the world." -- Goethe


I guess I am without either. Well, perhaps some small talent, but it's not developed as it should, since quiet has been a rare commodity in my life, and I have trouble dealing with the "maelstrom of the world" so I suppose I should be considered without character. Well, that's the first gloss on it anyway. I actually think I have both talent and character. The talent part is not only in my own eyes but the eyes of other artists and collectors, and I like to think it's more than a mere smidgen. As for character, I think I possess that in more than modicum, but that it doesn't necessarily match the current touchstone for said quality of virtue. I'm a liberal-minded person with a strong sense of justice and propriety that happens to oppose the current ideal of conservative "values." I'll never get anywhere. Time is definitely not on my side. I may as well fade into oblivion.

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Thursday, June 9, 2005
(10:50 am)

I guess my luck has turned! I won $9.00 on a scratch-off lottery ticket. That makes up for the dozens that were duds. No, wait, it doesn't. The lottery is a tax on stupidity and desperation.


Quote of the Day: "Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education. " -- Alfred Whitney Griswold (1906 - 1963) Historian; President of Yale University, 1950-1963


I forgot to mention it, but yesterday was Paul Gaugin's birthday.

I have expensive tastes in liquor. I'd love to regularly drink 150 year old Grand Marnier, Johnny Walker Blue, and Booker's Bourbon, but I can't afford the cheapest of those (Booker's) at over $40 a bottle. I stick to Knob Creek at $22.00 a fifth when it's on sale and the very rare bottle of Basil Hayden. If life was fair, I could afford to be a hopeless drunk.


Bonus Quote of the Day: "The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." -- Humphrey Bogart

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Sunday, June 12, 2005
(12:06 pm)

Just a quote and an altered photograph today.


Quote of the Day: "No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." -- Gautama Siddharta (Buddha)


Digital Camera Image (altered) [2005_0507Image0009b.jpg]
"I always knew pansies had 'faces' but. . ."

Okay, I reserve the right to make further comments or bad digital alterations later today.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
(10:26 am)

Last night I finished reading Dean Koontz's The Taking. It was a pretty disturbing book. Still it was a hopeful story in a lot of ways. I get the impression that Koontz, like myself, has little faith in the majority of mankind.


Quote of the Day: ". . . architects had largely championed sterility, which is order bled of purpose, and celebrated power, which is meaning stripped of grace. By rejecting the fundamentals of the very civilization that made possible its rise, modernism and its philosophical stepchildren offered flash in place of genuine beauty, sensation in place of hope." -- Dean Koontz, in The Taking


It seems to me that Koontz either doesn't understand that art and beauty are not necessarily synonymous, or that he may be criticizing his own writing, as it is really more flash than substance in most cases. He does, however, throw little gems like this in his tawdry sensationalism on occasion. He is a good writer. His descriptive passages are better than most of the other flashes-in-pans currently plying their fraud against us.


Bonus Quote of the Day: "Although the human heart is selfish and arrogant, so many struggle against their selfishness and learn humility; because of them, as long as there is life, there is hope that beauty lost can be rediscovered, that which has been reviled can be redeemed." -- Dean Koontz, in The Taking


It's already over 80 degrees out today, headed toward the low nineties. I've got the doorways to my studio (the only room in the house with air conditioning) blocked off with makeshift curtains. I put aluminum foil up over the center panel of the window where the air conditioner resides. I expect it will over work and freeze up sometime this afternoon. There's a fan blowing the heat from the refrigerators and pilot lights out the open kitchen window. The smell of dog shit sometimes wafts in, since the kitchen is located next to the property next door where the widow who lives there lets her Labradors have run of the property and crap where they may. In warm weather, it gets oppressive. I hate this house (not too crazy about some of my neighbors, either).

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
(3:30 pm)

Things are very different now than when I was growing up. They're different even from when I was a young adult with long hair and a beard, playing rock and roll in bands and working in radio. Things have gotten tight. Things have gotten mean. Things have gotten lined up in neat, soulless rows and columns. If it don't contribute to someone's wealth further along up the food chain, then it's not worthy and can't be condoned. Art is in suspended animation. Music is all in 4/4 time and not very interesting on the whole. The effects are nice, but what about the plot of most movies? The air is cleaner. . . for the time being, but the things we deal with on an everyday basis are uninspired, flat, homogenized, whipped so smooth that texture is just a rumor of some kind, a vague notion that we're not really sure is actual or a wispy remnant of a dream we almost had.

It's all about the money, and everyone is coming up with their own scheme to take what little I have away from me. Goodwill is no longer a bargain unless you want someone else's clothes that no longer fit them. They assemble cheap MDF, paper-covered furniture and sell it for the same price as Wal-Mart -- it's just put together and more difficult to carry home. Most thrift shops don't have very big bargains on much except clothes and books. They sometimes have price tags that are greater than what the same item would cost new at Big Lots! or Target. It's all about seeing how much of the poor's money can be siphoned off and given to those who already have too much. Banks charge $31.00 now for an overdraft. Charging people who don't have enough money to make it to the end of the month, when the actual cost incurred is probably less than two dollars. If they don't have enough money, take more of it. And there are the pay-as-you-go cell phones. Most charge a per-call "connection fee" of a buck. That's a charge for being poor, for not having a credit rating. They don't charge a "connection fee" to their regular contract users, who also happen to get a much better per-minute rate. Credit cards. 0% introductory rate! Yeah, if you're AAA credit rated. If you have less than perfect credit, it can be greater than 30% with fees for everything. And some of the predatory credit card companies (Capitol One, f'r'instance, or Cross-Country Bank) even send statements out past the due date so the sucke. . . er, client has to pay a late fee, and of course they won't accept payment without the stub. Banks in general. Faugh! Car Dealers. No Credit Application turned down! Right. 0% for Mr. Engineer from Madras with a nice six-figure job; 18% or more for Ms. Single Mother with two kids, working three part-time jobs with bad credit where her ex- maxed out the credit cards and left town with the Bimbo from the Titty Bar. The people who need the biggest break, who have the least money, have to pay more for everything than those who have. It's wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


Quote of the Day: "To change masters is not to be free." -- Jose Martin Perez


I should be doing art. I feel boxed in though, somehow -- trapped. I don't work well in captivity. Anyway, here's one of my latest things. A goose:

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0613Image0015]
"Was Supposed to Be a Duck"
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Sunday, June 19, 2005
(5:45 pm)

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there, mine included, I suppose.


Quote of the Day: "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." -- Sigmund Freud


My father was never around when I was a child. He left for good when I was about four. I remember him only vaguely. The memories I hold are not pretty nor do I cherish them. My grandfather and uncles tried to stand in his stead, but it's not the same. I was deprived of the one male influence that would have made me different, the one example that would have helped me in a lot of ways in which I am still, in my sixth decade, deficient. I still mourn the loss of a father who's still alive and prosperous. He's been dead to me since I was 12. If you have a happy day, Dad, it's not because you deserve it as far as I'm concerned.


My web hosting contract is due for renewal at the first of the month. I think I'll probably switch to a different hosting company. I found one that will give me four times the disk space, twice the transfers, e-mail accounts with 2 GB mailboxes (500), three domains, and more goodies for just $2.22 more than I'm paying now. I was trying to find out if www.www.com or .net or .org were available, but the GoDaddy Whois lookup chokes on the second www.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005
(2:06 pm)

Quote of the Day: "Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered -- either by themselves or by others." -- Samuel Clemmens (Mark Twain)


More's the pity. . . But then, I suppose society can only deal with and pay a small portion of the geniuses it produces, and usually the lesser of those. People like Leonardo and Cezanne were exceptions. Van Gogh was not discovered or appreciated save by a few friends and family. How many others of such high caliber have been lost forever because of society's lack of the ability to deal with creative people if they don't conform to the 'standard' which society sets for them? How many give up or kill themselves or sublimate their genius to the point they 'live lives of quiet desperation.' If they can't handle the accounting, the record-keeping, the grant-writing, the cocktail parties and endless marketing activities this capitalist economy requires, they simply moulder and fade into history, a bit of sparkly dust.

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Friday, June 24, 2005
(8:14 pm)

June is coming to a close and next week I'll have to go to my doctor, pick up my medical records from my previous doctor, and renew or move my web hosting. I've agonized about whether to move it, leave it alone, or shut it down. I guess I'd better be deciding.


Quote of the Day: "Sometimes I wish that I was the weather, you'd bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I'd be the talk of the day." -- John Mayer


See, this is the reason I told my son to name his band For a Good Time, Call. That way he'd get free advertising in every rest room in every bar in the country.


Nothing on television tonight. No one at home but me. I can't even drink alone as I have to pick someone up at eleven. I ate a bad thing for dinner. I don't feel like fooling around with clay or ink and I don't feel like painting. I don't want to read, although I am currently making my way through a biography of Andy Warhol. Today I bought a Tom Robbins I haven't read, a Golden Guide to fossils that someone bought at the Grand Canyon (receipt still in the book), and one of Kenneth Clark's books on art history. I'd really like to get the others. I've become an avid reader of biographies and art history. I have a book on the history of painting techniques too, that I should read. I hope I live long enough to finish my reading list. Probably not.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
(11:15 am)

Three more days in June and I still haven't decided what to do about this site. I'd kind of like to keep it going, but I really don't have the money to do so. It will cost $120 for the year. An insignificant amount, but not to me, not right now. Since I put in the DONATE buttons on my opening page and on the Information page, I've gotten exactly zero donations. A lawyer in Europe promised a $50 offering, but didn't come through with it. I've had promises of payment for services rendered and the carrot of web site design and collage sales dangled in front of me and nothing has come of those either. It's easy to see why I might get discouraged and hang it up. On the positive side, in the last year there have been 266,000 hits on this site from over 70 countries. That's encouraging, although I'm not sure why, since during the same period there have been only eight legitimate comments left on my guest book, and by far the greatest number of those are from Pat and Nikki (Thanks! I love you guys). I've gotten three e-mails resulting from people clicking on the COMMENT button. That's not much. There must be a lot of people visiting my site one time, then forsaking it forever. I really don't know what to do. If I gave it up I'd have a lot more time to do other things. If you're interested in keeping this site alive, now would be a good time to click on that DONATE button. Or not. It's your call.

For those of you who subscribe to QAD, this quote might look familiar, as it's the Quote of the Week there. The bonus quote, I gleaned from today's Charleston Gazette editorial page.


Quote of the Day: "Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." -- Steven Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computer


Bonus Quote of the Day: "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. . . The working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. . . They are continually talking about your patriotic duty. It is not their but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches." -- Eugene V. Debs, Socialist-pacifist-labor leader (part of a 1918 speech at Canton, Ohio, that caused him to be sentenced to 10 years in prison under the Sedition Act)


We've come so far since then. . .

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005
(12:28 pm)

At long last I have some really good ideas for art. Only problem is I need my work table for all of them and all the stuff I have piled on my work table has nowhere else to go. All the shelves, cabinets, nooks, and crannies are filled. There are things strewn on the floor between the work table and the shelves against the back wall. This is awful. I feel stymied at every turn. My drawing table is loaded down, so that I barely have room to do anything small there. The beginning of one of the pieces that needs to be done on the work table now sits on the drawing table blocking anything else. I suppose I could toss it back in the floor. Not to worry, when I shut down my web site, I'll have less of a reason to use the computer. Besides it's five years old and has emphysema or something and probably isn't long for this world. That'll clear up more room to pile things.

I've been working a good bit on 18 X 24 drawing boards stuck on top of TV trays in the living room. It's hot in there, so I usually only do things there at night. I'm getting some work done, but I have to question, 'To what end?' Once done, it all goes into a drawer or a closet. I guess I'm destined to be one of those artists who fill up all the cracks in their lives with art that few others see, and may never go farther than a few blocks from where it was made. I never wanted to be one of those. I wanted to have a life that meant something. I wanted to accomplish something, other than being a bad example. It's a nasty job, but someone's got to do it.


Quote of the Day: "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has." -- Henry Ward Beecher


According to both criteria, I am poor. I have little. I am less. My accomplishments are sparse and of small import. I am sad beyond what I ever could have imagined. I'm going to stop taking my Neurontin and see if that helps. Somehow I doubt it.

Here's a new visual poem. Don't try to read it or understand or analyze it. It just is. Like me. I am blank. So is the poem.

Visual Poem (Corel Draw)
"Visual Poem 1 -- 6/29/05"
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Thursday, June 30, 2005
(1:23 pm)

If I can manage the money, I'll be moving my site to a new web hosting company. This will be my last entry until it arrives at its new digs. So, if this site disappears altogether for a few days or just has an "Under Construction" page, not to worry. If it's out of service for more than a week, well, it's been real. . .

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